My grandma used to constantly tell me when I was growing up that “Patience is a virtue.”
I always hated it when she would say this to me. Not only did I not know what she meant when she said patience is a virtue, but it also didn’t help that I was probably the most impatient child on the face of the planet.
I have never been the type of person who likes to wait. If my mind is set on something, I tend to want it immediately. From achieving my personal goals to having the different belongings I desire for myself, I would much rather have something immediately as opposed to having to wait for it. I think we all would.
Part of me gets irritated and antsy having to wait around for someone or something. I get anxious and my thoughts begin to start racing. Either that or I have a difficult time sitting still.
My dad will often tease me about it and ask me if I know what it means to relax. I usually try to justify my actions, but part of me wonders if I actually do know how to relax, or if I do, how often I should be relaxing.
Practicing Patience Takes Time
One of the things that I have learned through quarantine is how to practice patience. I have to admit, I am pretty proud of the steps that I have taken.
For me, being impatient was always about wanting to control every outcome in my life. I would become impatient when things didn’t go my way. I would become impatient when reality didn’t align with that mental image I had drawn up for how something was supposed to go. And I would become impatient when people weren’t on my time.
Yeah, I know… I used to be a bit of a control freak.
Try having that mindset and then being slapped in the face with a global pandemic that basically forces you to be patient… all the time.
If felt like my life changed overnight (as I’m sure everybody else’s did as well). At first, I struggled with this change, but as time went on, I started to see it as a blessing. I noticed that I was becoming less and less irritated. I started seeing the big picture of life and realized that there was more to life than just my wants and desires.
It’s not to say that I don’t still struggle with being patient from time to time, but I am making progress, and that’s what’s most important.
5 Ways to Practice Patience
Here are 5 ways I am learning to practice patience in my life. With all of the extra time we seem to have on our hands for the foreseeable future, I strongly encourage you to find some ways to practice patience in your life as well.
1. Surrender to the reality
I think the most beneficial thing I have done for myself through quarantine is to learn and surrender to what already is.
While I control my life, I am such a miniscule part of the world – a speck if you will. The world does not only tailor to my every need. It has over 8 billion individuals also living on it.
The point is that there are always going to be things in which we can’t control. There are going to be things we don’t necessarily like, and things that we want to change. But it isn’t going to do you any good to use your time and energy getting worked up over something you can’t change. Learn to let go and surrender. Be a person, not a force.
2. Focus on your breathing
Learning to focus on your breathing is another good way to practice patience.
I will admit that when I get stressed (which can happen often), I tend to have a difficult time breathing. My body becomes so tight and any I simply feel constricted every time I try to inhale. The more I struggle with my breathing, the tenser I become. Needless to say, it can get pretty ugly.
One of the things I have been implementing is steady breathing. I will inhale slowly for 3 seconds, pause for 3 seconds, and exhale for 3 seconds. In doing so, it helps to slow my heart rate, and it also helps to reduce stress.
If you find yourself getting tense and holding on to stress, try to focus on your breathing. More specifically, learn to slow it down. Trust me, it will do wonders for you.
3. Embrace change in life
This kind of piggybacks off of learning how to surrender, but also, learn to embrace change instead of fighting it.
Let me give you an example: when quarantine started, my parents told me to come stay with them in Utah. As a person who likes routine (and the fact that my world was already changing drastically), I really struggled with the decision. I wanted comfort and familiarity, and this was not going to bring either to me.
But, I finally caved and embraced the opportunity. Let me tell you something, I am sure glad I did.
The two months that I have been out here have been two of the best months of my life. I have made new friends, challenged myself in ways I never could have previously, and have taught myself that it’s okay to push myself out of my comfort zone from time to time. In fact, doing so can make for some of the best memories. I have grown more as a person in the last few months than I had in years prior.
While it took time to get adjusted at first, it was definitely worth it. And as a result, I feel stronger and more confident than ever before.
4. Realize everything happens for a reason
I tend to be a bit of an optimist. I mean, why not?! It doesn’t do me any good to focus on the negatives in life. It actually only makes me feel miserable.
While I do not know why everything is happening the way it is in the world around me, it also isn’t for me to understand – at least not yet. I just have to trust that everything is happening for a reason, and hopefully that reason will benefit many lives in the future.
It’s not always easy to stay patient – especially when there is so much uncertainty. But one of the best ways to help you in practicing patience is to simply let go and trust that everything happens for a reason. It helps me to feel less stressed, and I believe it will do the same for you as well.
5. Be mindful and find stillness
Being mindful and finding stillness are huge! Personally, I never thought I would be saying this, but being mindful is something that I am practicing on a daily basis.
See, I have always been a person who crams 10 pounds of sh*t into a 5-pound bag. It’s like I pride myself on being busy and never having downtime. But I have realized how much added and unwanted stress that seems to cause me. I have realized that if I want to become more patient and less stressed, I need to take the time to slow down, recognize the thoughts in which I am thinking, to be mindful of my thoughts and actions, and to find stillness within my life.
In an effort to do so, I have started to carve out parts of my day where I do nothing but reflect on my goals and have also started to meditate for a few minutes as well. Nothing crazy or anything, but just a nice escape from reality.
I have found that in doing so, I feel less stressed throughout the day and my thoughts are more clear and concise. Not only that, but I am happier and my love for life is all that much stronger.
Before You Go
Now is a time where we should all be developing on our weaknesses. There is so much we can be doing right now so that if and when we do go back to a sense of normalcy, we can be stronger individuals as a result.
Don’t waste your time and let the days pass you by. Make the most out of every minute of your day and do something today that your future self will thank you for. Start by finding ways to practice patience and finding stillness in your life.